Thursday, June 30, 2011

Burn Notice - Company Man (S05E01)

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

This new season of Burn Notice starts with advice from Michael and the scenes from the last season, recapping the trials and tribulations to get him here: walking into a Canadian security office as a CIA Civilian Security Asset. Michael is now helping a CIA boss break into a server room with an RFID lock. "Any key can be copied, even a digital one." Michael and his CIA buddies detain and drug the guy stealing data at a computer terminal, and load him into a surveillance van with his [apparently] new CIA boss inside.

Back in Miami, Fiona is puzzled as to why she and Michael were cut off after they had been dealing with this "unauthorized quasi-governmental agency" for years and why Michael needs a CIA 'babysitter.' He explains the situation and then heads over to his Mom's place.  Sam's there [a bit thinner than last season]. Michael continues to stonewall people as to how the operations are going. Sam has a surprise in the garage, and, to Michael's great surprise, Jesse shows up for the unveiling. Jesse quit the agency and took a job with a private security firm. On the side, he got Michael's Charger back, which was a 'huge pain in the @$$.'  Before the unwrapping, Michael gets a call on the 'batphone' calling him back for the interrogation of the guy he just kidnapped.

Michael returs to DC to interview Hector and get him to give up the last guy they're looking to bring in. "Just be the same unstoppable son of a bitch I recruited all those years ago."  Michael's boss butters him up, then puts him in the room with Hector...  He disables the backup observation camera in the thermostat, then sits down to empathize with him to get him to bet on Michael to protect his family. Michael's boss isn't happy about the camera being disabled, but he walks out of the room with Kessler's (the last remaining member of the organization) address in Caracas, VZ. Michael says they'll need a team... and he wants to bring his own people. His boss very begrudgingly agrees to allow Sam and Fi to come along.

The CIA screws with Michael & Co on the way there by sending their plane through a mess of countries, and then by putting all three of them in the same room. Max and Michael then leave Sam and Fi to the consolation of the minibar and head to go over mission details. The details involve sending Michael in undercover via the leader of a military checkpoint to offer him a bride to look the other way. The trio head off into the jungle to the checkpoint. Sam and Fi spend most of the time making fun of Max's secretive CIA ways vs. their simple but effective methods.

Michael's tip on working under a cover ID: "It's all about the little things... you have to know... every detail on every document... the entire history on the person you're pretending to be." Sam and Fi perform the charade of an American couple with a bad rental car. Michael sneaks in and pretends to be a Russian on the hunt for Kessler. He pitches the guy and then leaves to meet up later.

The guy shows up to the meeting having checked up on Michael's ID and pulls a gun on him. Max immediately begins to pull him out with an extraction team, but Sam and Fi convince him not to... Michael starts 'shotgunning' (throwing a bunch of information at someone and judging if it rings a bell by watching their facial expressions) based on information fed to him by Max and Sam. It works... barely.

Back at their 'headquarters,' Michael and Max brief Sam, Fi, and CIA friends on the plan to separate and kidnap Kessler at the checkpoint. Sam and Fi corner Michael afterward and complain about them getting sidelined for the remainder of the operation. Michael explains that the CIA uses separate teams for separate objectives. Kessler (Michael's last chance for answers) must have saw them coming and interrupts Michael's explanation on why separate teams are great by knocking out all surveillance, leaving the 'command team' blind and useless. Fi and Sam have sneaked in near the checkpoint and report that Kessler picked up on the radio frequencies and jammed everything. Max and Michael take off after Kessler to try to salvage things. Max displays his pansiness by complaining about the lack of... everything.

They blow into Kessler's compound, out-armed and out-manned. "How are you still alive?" "That's a good question. I eat a lot of yogurt..."

Michael shoots everyone outside, and then he and Max head inside. After some light exchange of fire, Kessler locks himself in a safe room. Michael asks Fi to buy them some time by slowing the authorities up at a bridge while Michael and Max try to break into the safe using grenades. Michael pulls apart 3 grenades and makes a bomb to lower into the room. Sam and Fi blow up a car and telephone poll to block the road. [Way to enact Rule #1 50 minutes into the episode...] Michael and Max get into the room only to find that Kessler shot himself. Michael's a bit more than pissed, but Max talks him out and gets him moving. Michael rigs up a machine gun onto a fan to provide a distraction while he and Max escape out the back...

Back in Miami, Max sounds like a normal client thanking the team for their unofficial help. Sam tried to toast to the end of everything, but Michael is distracted. He heads back to his Mom's place to think over the not-yet-unveiled Charger. His Mom shows up and she convinces him that closure is overrated. They actually share a laugh, and then he.... DOESN'T reveal the car... [very disappointing]

[So this is basically a disappointing season opener. Lots of barely relevant advice from Michael with little bomb-building, only a few seconds of Miami scenery, and minimal antics from Sam and Fi start this season out with a whimper... Hopefully, things get back on an explosive track soon...]
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